Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Real Scoop on Greens

My journey to real foods has been so gradual that I really can't remember all the steps I've taken. I recently asked my husband, "What was the first thing I did to move toward healthier eating?" He thought it was probably the lettuce.  I was a little surprised. I cannot remember the last time I bought a head of iceberg lettuce, but I know that was our salad staple when we first got married.

Butter lettuce

Which greens are best?  Here is a list of the different spinach and lettuce varieties although I'm sure there are many more. Iceberg lettuce isn't bad...after all it's created by God, too. There are just so many more lettuces that are better. Nutritionally, it comes out behind romaine lettuce according to this article. We also know that the more color a real food has, the more "good stuff" is in it. God made His foods to be attractive to us! The main reason our family prefers romaine or another dark, leafy green is the taste. It just has a great flavor and iceberg is mostly just water and crunch.

Where do you get them?  The best place is in season direct from a farmer, however most grocery stores carry them. Lettuce is something that I can get organically in my area for not much of a price difference.

What about the cost?  If we eat lettuces when they are in season and get them from a fresh source like a farmer's market, I think the price is very comparable to iceberg lettuce from a store, if not cheaper. Another trick I've found when purchasing lettuce in a regular store is to buy the big tubs of organic lettuce rather than bags of lettuce. They last such a long time while it seems the bags of lettuce go bad within a day of opening. If you have a salad spinner, you can always buy a smaller quantity of lettuces in the produce department, therefore cutting down the cost and buying only what you will use. Food in the trash can is money thrown away.

Green Smoothie 

How do you use them?  Raw, in salad, of course. Mix up different greens for variety and taste. Another way to eat them raw is green smoothies. Mix them with frozen fruit, ice and water in a blender for a delicious breakfast drink. If you choose to cook them, spinach works best. We like it wilted in pasta and in some meat dishes. Any memories I have of it cooked by itself involve bacon grease, so we don't usually do that around our house. Greens like kale and swiss chard can also be braised, but I confess I haven't done this yet myself.

Your Turn:  What are your thoughts on greens?

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